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Sports photography: Covering football ain't easy.

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The fall season means football, and in a college sports-crazy city like Louisville, Kentucky, football season doesn't seem to begin soon enough. The University of Louisville football team is Louisville's team, and it can be as exciting to watch as any football team in the NCAA. Fans who attend the games, at any given moment, are able to witness the big picture, including the noise and sights of a packed stadium as well as the entire field of play. Those fans watching the game on television can catch most ol the game action, play by play, while enjoying expert commentary in the comfort of their homes.

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Professional photographers, covering the game from the sidelines, capture and provide the close-up views of the faces, expressions and visual energy of the moment for fan enjoyment long after the game is over. It ain't easy taking great photographs of fast moving sports action, however, especially at the college and professional levels.

Capturing great football action requires a different kind of concentration on the game - one of awareness, relaxation and timing, simultaneously. For example, being aware of a team or player tendency while being positioned in the right spot along the sideline can make a tremendous difference. Staying relaxed during electric moments on the football field will contribute to precise shot timing necessary to capture peak action.

Professional sports photographers know that to be completely successful, there are some other things that they must stay on top of, such as::

  • Keeping camera equipment in top operating condition
  • Staying ready for the physical demands of sideline coverage
  • Knowing the rules and restrictions imposed by the league and/or facility
  • Understanding the basics of football
  • Gaining insight into specific tendencies of teams and key players, and
  • Properly preparing for the weather.

The sports photographs included in the slideshow are from the University of louisville's game with Rutgers held on October 21, 2011. Notice how the photographers were able to include three key elements of a great sports action photograph - the face, the player number and the ball.